This article was written by Maureen Fitzpatrick, contributor to Visit South Jersey and author of ‘A Guide To New Jersey Craft Breweries, South Jersey.’
Riddle: What do pickleball and beer have in common? Answer: Both might give you tennis elbow, one from hitting balls, the other from lifting your glass drinking some tasty beer from a brand new brewery called Neck of the Woods Brewing. This brewery is the true new kid on the block having only opened just over a week ago in Gloucester County.
What is pickleball? Pickleball is a sport that combines the likes of tennis, ping pong and badminton…think a tennis-style net with wooden paddles to hit polymer balls. Though this game may not seem like it belongs in an article about a craft brewery, there is a connection. While enjoying a beer at Neck of the Woods Brewing, you may have the chance to watch a game of pickleball being played by a well-known pickleball league. Who knows? You may even get the urge to do a little pickleballing yourself! Maybe we can even encourage Neck of the Woods to brew a pickle infused beer someday.
Though the rural sounding brewery name is courtesy of one of the owner’s eleven-year-old son, this craft brewery could also have been named “Neck of the Very Cool Sports Complex Brewery.” You see, Neck of the Woods is in the rear of Total Turf Experience Sports Complex on Lambs Road, right on the border of Pitman and Mantua. This cool new brewery is unique and offers a great escape from your typical craft brewery. Windows look onto the pickleball courts which double as basketball courts, as well as the ten-barrel production area. Beer and sports: what an awesome combination, even surpassing peanut butter and jelly!
While you’re enjoying an IPA or one of their barrel aged stouts in the large tasting room graced with twenty-foot ceilings, don’t be surprised if you run into a member of the Philadelphia Soul or the Philadelphia Fury. These teams use the complex as their practice arena, and it is entirely possible that you may see or knock drinking elbows with one or more of the players while seated at the beautiful bar made of reclaimed chestnut oak or perhaps while sitting at one of their tables made from — get ready for it — old pickle barrels! While trying their brews, take time to admire the vision their resident artist/brew team member Rob Puglisi blessed this brewery with. The barn façade of the far wall is built from Lancaster barn wood and the clock on the opposite wall was designed by Rob to reflect a city meets country theme.
Neck of the Woods is truly unique. It’s country meets city meets athlete. In fact, Visit South Jersey has an exclusive tidbit of fun information on the athlete part of the equation. On New Year’s Eve after a day of hard work getting the brewery set up, the guys learned that Carson Wentz would be coming in for a quick tour. Just minutes before he came through, Frank saw that one of the lines in the back had burst and water was flooding the floor. With the tenacity of a seasoned brewer, Frank was able to squeegee that floor clean mere seconds before Carson came through the door. Carson never knew, though he may know now!
Frank Price, Dave Surdam, Paul McIntyre, and Bruce Lowden have put years of effort into finding the best location to serve you their beer. Years of experience from brewing well received recipes is now your good fortune. While visiting, try the Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPA. This IPA mimics a strawberry shake in a subtler, beer sort of way. The strawberry and vanilla are apparent at first sip but are not too sweet, so this beer will even appeal to those who don’t favor sweeter beers. Another choice, the PTP Nitro Porter, is a yummy American porter that leaves notes of chocolate and coffee lingering on your taste buds. Come try them or ask for a flight to try their other delicious offerings. The guys are excited to welcome you to their Neck of the Woods. Be ready for a fun time! You might consider bringing some sneakers!
Neck of the Woods is located at 614 Lambs Road, Suite 7, Pitman, NJ 08071 (Total Turf). Head to the right and park in the back where there is a door to the brewery. Their hours are Thursday and Friday 4pm to 10pm, Saturday 12pm to 10pm, and Sunday 12pm to 5pm.